Doing Time on the Outside by Donald Braman

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the Family section of the journal I have contacted Prof. Donald Braman of George Washington University Law School.  His book Doing Time on the Outside: Incarceration and Family Life in Urban America will hopefully be a starting point for the type of stories for the Family section.  (I’m trying to think of another name.)

As with Prof. Henry Jenkins, I have asked for permission to reprint/excerpt his book and other writings.  These requests surround the draft copy I am pulling together along with the first edition, after which a tremendous response is expected and an equally tremendous amount of material. I anticipate the “outside” audience to be a little slower in coming to the fold, which is why these ubiquitous accounts, already in print, are so valuable.


In the tradition of the best-selling ethnographies No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman and Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier, Doing Time on the Outside tells the other side of the incarceration saga: the little-told story of the effects of imprisonment on the families of the prisoners.
Since 1970 the incarceration rate in the U.S. has more than tripled, and in many cities — urban centers such as Washington, D.C. — it has increased over five-fold. Today, one out of every ten adult black men in the District is in prison. This has caused a deep rupture in the lives of the prisoners and their families.
Author Donald Braman shows that doing time on the inside has a ripple effect on the outside — one that reaches far beyond the individual prisoner and deep into the family itself. Braman offers wrenching personal stories of the ordeals families face when one of their members is imprisoned. Citing major examples such as lost income and delayed parenting opportunities, he also uncovers seemingly innocuous details that nevertheless have a cumulatively adverse effect; for example, the onerously large phone bills that often result when a family member goes to prison.
This ground-breaking ethnography of modern urban America reveals a genuinely new argument: how misguided the commonly accepted ideas about supposed pride in prison time really are. Moreover, Braman brings to light the darker side of a system that is failing not only its criminals, but their families, too. Finally, the author argues that prisoners themselves must take more responsibility for their lives, as well as for their families.

Options to becoming a Non-Profit

December 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the decisions currently being worked on here at NPJP is the business model that will work best for us.

The options that seem to make most sense (pre-investigation and consultation) are the following:

Seek Fiscal Sponsorship

Seek fiscal sponsorship instead of becoming a tax-exempt organization yourself. Fly under the cover of an existing nonprofit so that you can accept donations and apply for grants before being registered as a tax-exempt organization.

Organize an Unincorporated Association

Put together an unincorporated association to fulfill your mission without seeking tax-exempt status. Not all charitable organizations are incorporated and IRS registered.

Become a Social Entrepreneur

Become a social entrepreneur by forming a for-profit social venture to accomplish your social goals; or set up a small business with the goal of contributing some or all profits to a charitable cause.

There is even a new type of organization that is a hybrid of nonprofit and for-profit. It is an

L3C (Low-Profit Limited Liability Company

L3C organizations are a new way to fulfill a social mission. A hybrid of a nonprofit and for-profit corporation, the L3C is run in a similar way to a for-profit company, but is like a nonprofit in that its mission is to do something for the social good.

An L3C generates a profit but it isn’t the sole priority. It is not tax-exempt, but it can seek investors and investments that are program related for funding. The IRS does restrict how much profit an L3C can make and property it can own. Also, this hybrid organization cannot engage in political work or lobbying. The organization must make clear that fulfilling a charitable goal is the primary reason it exists.


National Prison Journal Project (NPJP) is born!

December 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

National Prison Journal Project (NPJP) was born December 1, 2010, in the pages of the yellow and black marbled composition book I now carry with me everywhere.  That was the first day all of my mental traffic converged into a single, comprehensible, achievable idea.

On December 2, 2010, I entered the blogosphere without the hesitation I held for quite a while.  Why?  Because I had a reason, other than my own musings, to do it.

That same day I took action.  Perhaps the hardest part of anything.  Going from the walk of thought, to the jog of writing, to beginning the marathon of  action and realizing a goal.

So here we are.  NPJP and myself.

Currently, we are two separate entities.

Where Am I?

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